The “Handelsblatt” reported that 100 gigabytes of confidential data had been leaked to him, including sensitive information about customers, employees and business partners. Other documents marked as confidential deal with projects such as the self-driving car, the development of new battery cells or the planned electric pickup by the US manufacturer.
Tesla told the newspaper that an ex-employee was suspected of having passed on data “in violation of confidentiality obligations”. Tesla wants to take legal action against the suspect. A spokesman for the state data protection officer in Brandenburg, where Tesla has a large factory, told the newspaper that there were “serious indications of possible data protection violations”. The state commissioner also informed the Dutch data protection authority, which is responsible for Tesla’s European headquarters.
In addition to warnings, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) also provides for fines for such violations, which can theoretically amount to up to four percent of group sales. In the case of Tesla, with annual sales of just under $81.5 billion, that would be up to $3.26 billion. According to “Handelsblatt”, several insiders said that many Tesla employees had access to the data. Tesla also wanted to prevent the leak and the data from being reported.
The content of the documents is also not unproblematic for Tesla, according to the Handelsblatt. Numerous presentations about technical problems, for example with the Cybertruck electric pick-up and the autopilot, are said to have been leaked. The documents also include numerous complaints from Tesla drivers, for example that their car braked or accelerated for no reason, reports the Handelsblatt.